Does The Size or Type Of A Truck Matter In An Accident Claim?
Truck accidents are often traumatic events resulting in property damage, injuries, and sometimes death. As a victim, you will need adequate compensation to cover the cost of your recovery. Yet, insurance settlements might fall far from what you deserve.
Phillips Law Group has decades of experience in pursuing justice for truck accident victims in Arizona and nationwide. Over the years of settlements and personal injury claims, we have negotiated and won over $1 billion for our clients.
With so many types of trucks on the road, you might wonder how large of a role the size or type of vehicle plays in an accident claim. We are here to answer your questions. Call (800) 706-3000 from anywhere in the United States to schedule your free consultation.
Vehicles You Might Encounter on Arizona Roads
The Arizona Crash Facts Summary for 2021 is sobering. According to this report, a total of 121,345 collisions led to 35,203 injured people and 1,063 deaths.
Pickups and vans
Pickups are small trucks with enclosed passenger cabs and an open compartment in the vehicle’s rear. Vans are mid-sized to large vehicles with boxed-shaped interiors and high roofs, often used to transport goods or people.
Trucks and buses
“Truck” is a broad term. The 2021 summary mentioned above lists the following types:
- Truck tractors (with and without semi-trailers)
- Concrete mixers
- Dump trucks
- Waste management vehicles
- Wreckers and towing trucks
- Motor homes
- Fire response vehicles
- Commercial transport
- Recreational vehicles (RVs)
- Other truck combinations
Buses include large public transport and private service vehicles that transport groups of 9 or more people.
Why Larger Trucks Cause More Significant Damage
If all registered automobiles convened on I-10 and the Pinal Pioneer Parkway, you would see 348,943 commercial vehicles on the road. Though this number sounds significant, it is eclipsed by some 5.6 million privately owned cars and hundreds of thousands of motorcycles and mopeds.
Is the number of oversized vehicles, though, small in comparison to the number of accidents these vehicles are involved in? Some might be surprised to discover that pickups and vans comprised less than 16 percent of Arizona’s total crashes in 2021.
In the same year, around 6 percent of 2021’s accidents involved trucks or buses. Therefore, large vehicle collisions are not the most common in the State of Arizona. Yet, large-vehicle crashes can be the most harmful due to specific factors.
Size and weight
The Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) defines a large truck as one weighing more than 10,000 pounds. Trucks with 5 or more axles can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds without special operations exemptions.
Since trucks are so long and heavy, they could move with great forward momentum during a crash. Colliding large vehicles often result in costly repairs and catastrophic injuries.
Arizona maximum limits allow automobiles to travel between 65 and 75 mph on interstates like I-17 and I-40. Truck drivers should be careful, given the size and weight of their vehicles. Still, some rush to reach their destination, making the roads more dangerous for everyone.
Of course, carrying cargo increases the weight of any vehicle. However, what some trucks transport could make a crash even more dangerous. In 2020, reports revealed that hazardous materials like those described below were present in 2 percent of fatal crashes and 2 percent of injury and tow-away cases.
- Biological or radioactive waste
It’s easy to see that such materials could be explosive, flammable, infectious, or corrosive. Undoubtedly, it is easy to imagine why accidents with trucks carrying such cargo can end in tragedy.
The Costly Effects of Truck Crashes
What kind of damage is caused by trucks during a crash? Consider these facts.
After a crash, there may be no sweeter words than, “Thank goodness no one was hurt.” Indeed, 70 percent of total crashes lead only to vehicle body damage, such as:
- Cracked windows or windshields
- Dented bumpers
- Prominent scrapes and scratches
- Damaged suspension systems
- Rear-end damage
Vehicles can also run into obstacles in their path. The liable party could also be responsible for repairing buildings, fences, machinery, and landscaping. The statewide economic loss due to property damage-only crashes exceeded $908 million in 2021.
Some car accident injuries are minor. After a few weeks, superficial scratches and scrapes can heal without a trace.
Yet, other more serious injuries take a long time to get better. In some cases, victims never recover their previous state of health.
Injuries occur when body parts come into contact with other objects or surfaces, leading to:
- Soft tissue injuries to muscles, ligaments, and tendons
- Burns, cuts, and scratches
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Broken bones
- Blood loss and internal bleeding
- Permanent disabilities like paralysis or blindness
Physical pain is sometimes accompanied by psychological trauma. Truck accident victims might feel the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and other conditions triggered by painful or stressful events.
In 2021, diagnostic tests, hospital fees, and treatment costs amounted to over $7 million in accident-related losses in Arizona.
Large trucks account for 9 percent of fatal vehicle collisions. Simply stated, these accidents are heartbreaking. If you are mourning the loss of a loved one, you realize that money is not the most significant loss. Yet, monetary compensation can ease the burden of your financial losses.
Arizona motor vehicle crash deaths cost about $11 billion per year. Before dying, accident victims can incur medical debt, which is later subtracted from their estate. However, some obligations, such as those co-signed for or paid from a joint account, could directly impact their spouse and close relatives.
According to an Arizona consumer guide, end-of-life costs might include:
- Autopsies and embalming costs
- Cemetery plots and grave markers
- Cremation fees
- Rental fees for funeral halls and transportation
- Caskets and flowers
Besides paying for a proper burial service, a truck accident claim based on wrongful death could help cover the medical costs, lost wages, and employment benefits of the deceased.
Surviving family members must also consider their current situation and future finances. Your lawyer can also pursue intangible damages such as pain and suffering, the loss of companionship, and the value of the household services your relative once provided.
Truck Types Involved in Complex Accident Claims
Truck type matters for another important reason. Different laws might also apply to truck accident cases. For example, in Arizona:
- The blood alcohol concentration of commercial drivers should not exceed 0.4 percent compared to 0.08 for other drivers 21 years of age or older
- Trucks cannot drive on every street because the length, width, and weight of these vehicles limit their movement to specific roads, highways, and parking spots
When you get into an accident with a passenger vehicle, you usually deal with a single driver and his or her insurance company.
On the other hand, if your accident is with a commercial vehicle, the scenario might become more complicated. In these cases, trucking companies would also play a role in your settlement. City officials might get involved if a fire truck or ambulance causes an accident.
Your Lawyers Matter in a Truck Accident Case
Due to the complex nature of truck accidents, victims cannot afford to leave their financial well-being to chance. At Phillips & Associates, we are committed to continuing our dedication to recovering fair compensation for our clients.
That’s why you can feel free to call us now without fear of any obligation or out-of-pocket costs. Our assistance only gets paid for when you get compensated.
Contact us online or dial (800) 706-3000 to discuss your truck accident claim. During your free consultation, learn how we, one of Arizona’s largest consumer law firms, can protect your legal rights.
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